What you are thankful for at the end of The Descendents is that Matt King (George Clooney) had to live through that family crisis and not you. The film opens in a hospital room, with Matt's wife in a coma, with just enough misplaced hope to let you connect with the characters before the story starts knocking them down. And hit them it does, over and over, with events and revelations, any one of which would have conceivably curled most men into a blubbering ball on the beach. But Matt sticks with it, sticks with his daughters, takes each hit, not in stride, but as it comes. And in the end there is hope again.
The acting is natural and raw across the board. The directing and editing is simple and patient. The beauty of Hawaii is not featured, but is used effectively as backdrop and buffer for the emotional roller coaster of the story. There is not a false note here. There is love, hate, anger, spitefulness, forgiveness, and hope.
The Descendents (IMDb)